|By PR Newswire||
|August 19, 2014 09:30 AM EDT||
Launch HIGHLINE to better support tech founders who are about to scale globally
TORONTO AND VANCOUVER, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Vancouver-based startup accelerator GrowLab Ventures and Toronto's Extreme Startups have announced their merger and the launch of HIGHLINE, the first pan-Canadian accelerator platform, at the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) this morning.
MERGER OF EQUALS TO CREATE NEW POWERHOUSE ABOVE THE 49th "HIGHLINE"
Extreme Startups' and GrowLab's respective Executive Directors, Marcus Daniels and Jonathan Bixby, had a vision to create one program that would unite the best entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem partners living above the 49th parallel - the "highline" that separates Canada and the US - by merging their two top tier accelerator programs. This vision became a reality with today's announcement. The "merger of equals" creates a new powerhouse accelerator platform called HIGHLINE and is made possible by the financial backing of major Canadian VCs, including BDC Capital and Relay Ventures. BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), was also a shareholder and strategic partner of both accelerators and has been HIGHLINE's principal strategic backer since the merger was first conceived.
RISING ABOVE THE ACCELERATOR NOISE
"The accelerator sector is already very mature with over 1,700 programs worldwide," says Marcus Daniels, HIGHLINE's cofounder and new CEO. "But less than 60% of them have helped entrepreneurs get funded and 90% have had no exits at all". Relentlessly focused on evolving the accelerator model, Daniels is a serial entrepreneur and seed investor with 24 years of digital innovation experience.
While Extreme Startups and GrowLab have been among the more successful accelerators (over 90% of their graduates raised follow-on institutional capital totaling more than $27 million, and both programs combined had 3 highly profitable exits over their 30-month existence), Bixby and Daniels saw the merger of their two accelerators as the inevitable next step in order to rise above the noise, evolve the model and attract the very best in Canada. Says Bixby: "I'm really excited that this new entity will not only attract the very best Canadian founders, but that it will also be the best option for many entrepreneurs globally."
"HIGHLINE's ambition is to supercharge 1000 founders who will create over $10 billion in equity value outside of Silicon Valley over the next decade," says Daniels. He expects over 90% of those startups to establish their headquarters in Canada as there are "few better places on the planet to build digital products than the Vancouver-Waterloo-Toronto-Montreal ecosystems".
"We see this merger as crucial to building off the past strong performance of the two programs," says Michael Mahon, Director, Venture Capital - Strategic Investments & Partnerships at BDC Capital. "The creation of a premiere pan-Canadian option in a global environment that is increasingly competitive with regards to entrepreneurial talent and capital will be a key differentiator for HIGHLINE." BDC Capital had already invested a total of $5.7 million in 38 graduates of HIGHLINE's predecessors through its convertible notes funding program. The merged entity will remain a core accelerator partner for BDC Capital, says Mahon, and its startups will continue to be eligible to receive its $150,000 convertibles notes.
WORLD-CLASS "CO-CONSPIRATORS" STEP UP
In addition to BDC Capital and Relay Ventures, several world-class entrepreneurs and individual investors have stepped up to inject fresh capital and provide strategic guidance to the new entity, including Amar Varma (Pivotal Labs), Leonard Brody (Clarity Digital Group) and Boris Wertz (Version One Ventures). Varma and Brody join HIGHLINE's Board of Directors, together with Daniels, BDC Capital's Michael Mahon and Alex Baker of Relay Ventures. Jonathan Bixby will remain involved as part of the Board of Advisors, alongside such well-known players as Paul Singh, founder of Disruption Corporation and formerly of 500 Startups. HIGHLINE is in discussions with other notable potential partners and intends to reveal new "co-conspirators and collaborators" over the coming weeks.
ACCELERATING THIS FALL
HIGHLINE will begin hosting startups this fall at its Vancouver and Toronto anchor campuses. It will primarily target "digital startup founders close to product-market fit with global ambition to scale", instead of ventures that are still at the ideation stage. Applications open today at HIGHLINE.vc.
While it will build on the collective experience of GrowLab Ventures and Extreme Startups, HIGHLINE will innovate in a number of ways. For one, it will propose a number of specialized, tailored acceleration "products" rather than a single, one-size-fits-all program as in traditional accelerators. It will also better support founders' global ambitions by offering greater and earlier connection to global markets like New York and San Francisco; and it will provide startups with as much as $200,000 in financing, not necessarily at the beginning and end of the program but at timely stages that best fuel their growth. Other platform details will be made available in the coming weeks.
Bixby and Daniels made the announcement of this merger this morning, shortly before they were invited to open the day's trading at the Toronto Stock Exchange (photo available), together with the management team and founders from HIGHLINE's portfolio. They then immediately boarded a plane to attend a launch event in Vancouver with their West Coast startups.
For more information, visit HIGHLINE.vc.
HIGHLINE is a VC-backed founder driven co-venture platform that helps early stage digital startups supercharge growth and raise institutional capital. It is relentlessly focused on giving founders "Speed to Seed" through specialized accelerator programs, timely staged investing (up to $200K) and rapid connectivity in key global markets starting with Vancouver, Toronto, New York City and San Francisco. It creates acceleration products and programs for founders close to product-market fit with global ambition to scale. It is powered by the financial backing of major Canadian VCs, including BDC Capital and Relay Ventures, whose funds under management collectively exceed $2 billion.
HIGHLINE currently has an active portfolio of 40 companies, 90% of which have received institutional follow-on capital, raising over $27 million. It has so far had 3 highly profitable exits over a 30-month period.
ABOUT BDC CAPITAL
A subsidiary of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), BDC Capital offers a full spectrum of specialized financing and investment solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs achieve their full growth potential. With more than $1 billion under management, BDC Capital takes a strategic, patient approach to nurture companies' development over the long term.
From venture capital to equity to growth and transition capital, our team of over 100 experienced, local professionals partner with entrepreneurs to identify and meet their needs on flexible terms. Some of the sectors in which we specialize include IT, industrial/clean/energy technology, and healthcare. For more information, please visit www.bdccapital.ca or follow us on Twitter at @BDC_Capital.
ABOUT RELAY VENTURES
Relay Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in passionate entrepreneurs disrupting incumbent industries and creating new markets with the power of mobile computing. Unlike other funds, Relay exclusively focuses on software for mobile (from the sensor to the cloud), creating an unparalleled set of networks and resources that tangibly help founders build world-class companies. With offices in Menlo Park and Toronto, the firm is active throughout North America. For additional information, visit www.relayventures.com.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
Dec. 28, 2014 05:45 AM EST Reads: 2,282
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Dec. 28, 2014 05:30 AM EST Reads: 1,893
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 28, 2014 05:30 AM EST Reads: 1,872
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Dec. 28, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,504
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to th...
Dec. 28, 2014 03:45 AM EST Reads: 2,799
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, focused on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud platfo...
Dec. 28, 2014 03:30 AM EST Reads: 2,585
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Dec. 28, 2014 03:00 AM EST Reads: 2,077
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 27, 2014 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,055
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
Dec. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,925
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
Dec. 27, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,005
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
Dec. 27, 2014 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,758
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Dec. 27, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,976
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Dec. 27, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,820
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Dec. 27, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,409
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Dec. 27, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,721